News You Can Use

eLearn Magazine: A Recap of the 18th Annual Sloan Consortium Conference on Online Learning


New Issue of JALN released, featuring 2011 Best in Track Award Winners.


Creating an Institutional Culture that Embraces Accessibility and Supports Online Student Success  - By Kristen Betts, Director of Online and Blended Learning, Armstrong Atlantic State University. Kristen Betts will be presenting “From Compliance to Culture: Building an Effective Infrastructure to Support Accessibility and Online Student Success” on October 11, 2012.


Online and On the Move - By Emily Boles, Senior Instructional Developer, University of Illinois, Springfield. Ray Schroeder will be presenting "Online and On the Move: Mobile Online Learning" on October 10, 2012.

Conference News

Today's Campus Highlights Sloan-C Annual Conference in Nov-Dec Issue

Missed the event? Purchase the full set of recordings now – 65+ sessions for just $119!

Download the Proceedings

View the pictures of the conference

Watch the keynote and plenary recordings:

Keynote Address: Democratizing Higher Education
Sebastian Thrun, VP & Fellow Google

Plenary Panel: Evolution or Revolution? What's Happening with Traditional Online Learning?
Jeff Young (The Chronicle of Higher Education, US) - Panel Moderator
Jose Cruz (The Education Trust, US)
Alan Drimmer (University of Phoenix, US)
Jack Wilson (University of Massachusetts, US)

Plenary Address: Citizen Science - Authentic Participation in Research
Arfon Smith (Citizen Science-Adler Planetarium, US)

Press Release: October 9, 2012
Sonic Foundry Partners with the Sloan Consortium to Webcast International Conference on Online Learning

Best in Track Awards Winners Announced. Read the Press Release.

Call for Presentations for the 2013 conference will open in February 2013.

Check out last year's conference.


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Save the Dates

22st Annual OLC International Conference
November 16-18, 2016 | Orlando, Florida | Walt Disney World Swan/Dolphin Resort

OLC Innovate 2016 - Innovations in Blended and Online Learning
April 20-22, 2016 | New Orleans, LA | Sheraton New Orleans Hotel

A Year of Twitter Chats: What Did We Learn?

Melissa Venable (OnlineCollege[dot]org, US)
Session Information
October 10, 2012 - 3:00pm
Technology and Emerging Learning Environments
Areas of Special Interest: 
Practical Application
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Social Networking
Institutional Level: 
Multiple Levels
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Information Session
Northern Hemisphere E1
Session Duration: 
35 Minutes

Lessons learned through implementation and analysis of a weekly Twitter chat (#IOLchat).

Extended Abstract

Twitter is a social media and networking platform that allows for both asynchronous and synchronous communication through 140 character user messages called "tweets." Individual accounts are free for users, no additional software or downloading is required, and access is possible on a range of devices, including smartphones and tablets. The features and functions can be used in an academic setting to connect with students as well as a diverse population of educators, authors, and leaders in your field of study (Venable & Milligan, 2012).

Increasing in use in higher education (Titlow, 2011), the real-time options can take place in the form of one-on-one conversations, conference backchannel communication, and scheduled group events referred to as live Twitter chats. Twitter chats rely on the use of a designated hashtag (#) to filter participant contributions as part of a unified discussion (Venable & Milligan, 2012). hosts a weekly Twitter chat (#IOLchat) that started in June 2011. The goals of this initiative include: community building, creating a networking space, and encouraging relevant conversations for online learning practitioners (i.e., students, instructors, administrators). The presenter serves as the chat moderator working with a social media manager to develop session topics, discussion questions, and related resources. The events are open to the public and explore a variety of topics related to online learning. Each live chat was archived using a combination of and to create web-based transcripts.

The presentation will include an analysis of the chat sessions taking place between June 2011 and June 2012 to present the following:
• lessons learned in the administration of the events, to include recommended advanced strategies for implementation,
• categories of topics covered,
• demographics of chat participants,
• analysis of tweets that make up a "conversation" during a live event, to include types of tweets (i.e., replies, retweets) and shared resources.

The objectives of this presentation include: (a) an introduction to the format of a live chat on the Twitter platform, (b) results of analysis of Twitter chat archives, (c) examples of advanced chat strategies and (d) encouragement to participate in Twitter chats and consider hosting a new event.

Session attendees will be asked to share their experiences with Twitter and live Twitter-based chats, and to recommend specific chat events to their peers. Attendees will also be encouraged to participate in session and conference backchannel communication through the use of Twitter and designated hashtags.


Titlow, J. P. (2011, October 11). How scholars are using Twitter (Infographic). The Read Write Web. Retrieved from

Venable, M.A. & Milligan, L. (2012, March). Social media in online higher education: Implementing live Twitter chat discussion sessions. Retrieved from

Lead Presenter

Melissa A. Venable is an Education Writer for where she authors the Inside Online Learning blog ( Her background includes work in higher education – private, public, and for-profit – as an instructional designer and curriculum developer. Melissa is also an experienced instructor, academic advisor, and career counselor working with both undergraduate and graduate students. She earned her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction - Instructional Technology from the University of South Florida. Melissa also writes a personal blog for instructional designers: Design Doc (